Discovering her interest in photography early in life, Marie M. Martin was influenced by her father, who was a management consultant across the United States with a keen eye for photography. Inspired to enter the fine arts after witnessing her father’s passion for photography, she attended the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design in 1972. During the latter years of her collegiate career, she was awarded a John Frederick Lewis Fellowship that afforded her the opportunity to travel to Europe, where she visited different countries and bought authentic fabrics to bring home to the United States.
Ms. Martin subsequently interviewed with Condé Nast for Vogue Magazine in New York, where she worked as an assistant editor between 1972 and 1978. While working at Vogue, she was situated next to the fabric department, which allowed her to view images by fashion photographers. Finding that her interest in photography was growing, she resolved to depart from the field of fashion to pursue her true love for photography. Ms. Martin moved to Washington, D.C., where she was fortunate to receive a job as a receptionist at the acclaimed Lunn Gallery, hosted by Harry Lunn, prominently revered as one of the creators of the American photography market. Establishing a terrific rapport with Mr. Lunn, Ms. Martin eventually became the director of the Lunn Gallery, working in such a capacity until 1983.
Upon Mr. Lunn’s retirement, Ms. Martin rented the former gallery space and began building her own inventory of fine art, particularly works of photojournalism. During this time, she met with poignant photographers such as David Kennerly and Arthur Grace and began learning about appraising in 1989. From there, she has since served as an appraiser with her eponymous business, Marie Martin Fine Arts Services. She also worked as a consulting director at Gallery Patina with the National Council on Aging Inc., remaining in this role for two years, through which she helped organize exhibitions by artists older than age 55 and secured national endowments for art grants. In the latter stages of her career, Ms. Martin served as an instructor in the Center for Career Education at The George Washington University from 1995 to 2002, lecturing students on fine art, commercial and amateur photography, and artistic contributions. She was also a photo researcher for Clairmont Press in Selma, Alabama, from 1994 to 2006.
Impressively, Ms. Martin worked in collaboration with other artists, such as the pioneering Ansel Adams, as well as William Eggleston, Sally Mann, and Joyce Tenneson. Ms. Martin is notable for giving Ms. Mann and Ms. Tenneson their first exhibitions in Washington, D.C., which helped launch their careers. Furthermore, she appraised a collection of photographs and ephemera by William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the earliest pioneers in photography, for the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Throughout her career, Ms. Martin has been distinguished in her field, having earned dozens of accolades and honors from various societies for her work in photography. Moreover, she has been an invited speaker on numerous occasions and maintains an active affiliation with the American Society of Appraisers.
For her success, Ms. Martin credits her sincere love and passion for photography that she possessed since she was very young. She also expresses gratitude to Mr. Lunn, who has since passed away but was a generous and engaging individual who expanded the scope of Ms. Martin’s life and ventures in photojournalism and appraisals. In the coming years, she aims to continue serving as a fine arts appraiser and enjoying her career.